Clarity Law

Specialist Criminal Law Firm Queensland

Ipswich Criminal law firm

When facing criminal charges, it's crucial to have the right legal representation by your side. If you find yourself in such a situation in Ipswich, Queensland, Clarity Law is the law firm you can trust. With a proven track record of success and a team of experienced criminal lawyers, we are dedicated to providing top-notch legal support tailored to your specific needs.

Criminal charges we cover


There has been and remains a hardening attitude to assaults by the Queensland courts. Where once the court would have merely imposed a fine they are more likely now to impose a harsher sentence. The courts have continued to state that they will be increasing penalties for violence to act as a deterrence. You need a lawyer and a law firm with extensive experience with assault charges.

Learn more about assault charges


Bail Applications

Bail is where a person enters a written bond committing to appear before the court to answer criminal charges made against them, promising to pay the sum of money to the court if the accused does not appear.

Learn more about bail in Queensland


Centrelink Fraud

Centrelink fraud is one of the most common commonwealth charges that a person can be charged with. Centrelink fraud which involves false claiming of Centrelink benefits. Centrelink fraud is a serious charge and is viewed as such by courts and prosecutors and can often result in a prison sentence being imposed.

Learn more about Centrelink fraud charges


DVO Breaches

The charge of breaching a domestic violence order is on the rise in Queensland. Clarity Law can provide information and guidance to someone charged or accused of breaching a domestic violence order in Queensland. The courts are imposing harsher and harsher penalties due to public pressure so act now and get legal advice to protect yourself.

Learn more about DVO Breaches



A drug charge in Queensland is dealt with very seriously in the courts.  There are a wide variety of drug offences ranging from simple possession to more serious charges such as producing dangerous drugs and trafficking.  The seriousness of a drug charge depends on the drug involved, the amount of the drug and whether a person was merely possessing drugs or had an intention of selling those drugs.  

Learn more about drug charges in Caboolture



The term “fraud” covers a broad range of behaviours that fall outside the narrower offence of stealing but are nevertheless designed to deprive someone else of their property, or some interest therein. The common thread that ties these behaviours together is that they are done “dishonestly.” Fraud can also related to dishonest actions in regards to tax debts

Learn more about fraud charges


Making a false declaration in Queensland

According to the Statutory Declarations Act 1959, making a false declaration is a criminal offence. Section 11 of the Act states that a person must not intentionally make a false statement in a statutory declaration. The maximum penalty for this offence is 4 years imprisonment.

Learn more about Making a false declaration in Queensland


Obstruct or Assault Police

The charge of assault or obstruct police is a very common charge in Queensland and one that people who otherwise have never been in trouble with police are often charged with. If the offence was committed in or near a public place then community service may need to be imposed.

Learn more about obstruct or assault police charges


Public Order Offences

Public order offences are intended to penalise the use of violence and intimidation by individuals or groups in criminal law. Rioting, affray, drunk and disorderly behaviour, inciting racial or religious hatred or assaulting emergency workers are examples.



A charge of stalking is a very complex and serious charge under Queensland law, stalking charges are being laid by police at increasing levels.  Queensland was the first state in Australia to have stalking legislation and it has one of the strictest laws about stalking in Australia. It is an extremely complex area of the law.

Learn more about stalking charges



Stealing is the term used to describe a broad range of offences in Queensland and includes the term “theft” which is widely used in other legal systems. The definition of stealing is broad enough to include many different situations from shoplifting to stealing from an employer. This is a charge where the recording of a conviction can result in serious ongoing punishment.

Learn more about stealing charges


Sexual offences

Sexual offences are obviously some of the most sensitive charges under the law. They can range from indecent treatment charges to sexual assault and rape. It is critical to get fast and detailed advice from a lawyer if you have been accused of a sexual offence as it is incredibly easy to say the wrong thing and that mis-statement could lead to charges being bought, bail being denied and a person found guilty even when they are not.


Traffic Offences

We undertake all traffic offences that would lead to an appearance or court or applications for a work licence or hardship licence.

Learn more about traffic offences on our dedicated traffic lawyer website



A trespass charge will arise when a person either unlawfully enters or remains in either a dwelling or place.

Learn more about trespass charges


Using Carriage Service to Menace or Harass

The Commonwealth Criminal Code Act 1995, section 474, creates a number of offences connected with the illegal use of phones and computers. This can range from attempting to defraud someone using a phone or computer, to intercepting phones (wiretaps), to threating or menacing another person.

Learn more about Using Carriage Service to Menace or Harass


Weapon Charges

Weapon offences are quite common. Then often deal with either possessing a class of weapon the person is not licenced for or involves the incorrect storage of weapons or ammunition.


Wilful Damage

Wilful damage is a charge under section 469 of the Queensland criminal code. Wilful damage is an offence where a person intentionally and unlawfully destroys or damages any property. The maximum penalty for wilful damage is 5 years imprisonment 

Learn more about wilful damage charges


Wilful Exposure

Wilful exposure is an offence which arises when a person wilfully exposes his, her or their genitals in a public place, unless that person has a reasonable excuse.

A person may also be guilty of Wilful exposure if, from a private place, that is so close to a public place that it could be seen from a public place, they wilfully expose their genitals so that they may be seen from the public place, without reasonable excuse.

Learn more about wilful exposure offences


The police want to talk to me what should I do?

Never talk to the police without first speaking to a lawyer. One misspoken sentence could ruin your life.

Its critically important to exercise one's right to silence when facing arrest in Queensland. There is a common tendency for individuals to willingly speak to the police, often resulting in unintended self-incrimination or harsher penalties in court. Unless your lawyer tells you differently (and they 99% of the time won’t) we strongly advise against voluntarily providing statements to the police.

Learn more here


Why Choose Clarity Law?

  1. Expertise in Criminal Law: At Clarity Law, we specialize exclusively in criminal law. Our team of experienced lawyers has a deep understanding of Queensland's legal system, ensuring that you receive the best possible defence. We have successfully handled a wide range of cases, from traffic offenses to serious criminal charges, and our expertise covers both state and federal matters.

  2. Proven Track Record: Our firm has a history of achieving favourable outcomes for our clients. We have successfully defended numerous cases, earning a reputation for excellence in criminal defence in Ipswich and beyond. Our lawyers are well-versed in building strong cases, negotiating with prosecutors, and, when necessary, aggressively representing clients in court.

  3. Personalized Approach: We understand that every case is unique, and we treat each client with the individual attention and care they deserve. Our lawyers take the time to thoroughly review the details of your case, ensuring that no stone is left unturned in building a robust defence strategy.

  4. Transparent Communication: Clear and open communication is essential during legal proceedings. At Clarity Law, we make sure our clients are kept informed at every step of the process. We explain complex legal concepts in a straightforward manner, allowing you to make informed decisions about your case.

  5. Local Knowledge: Being based in Queensland, we have a deep understanding of the local legal landscape, including the Ipswich jurisdiction. This local knowledge can be a significant advantage in building a strong defence tailored to the specific circumstances of your case.

  6. Commitment to Client Success: Our ultimate goal is to achieve the best possible outcome for our clients. We work tirelessly to protect your rights and interests, whether that means negotiating a favourable plea deal or mounting a vigorous defence in court.

How We Can Help:

  1. Defending Against Various Charges: Whether you're facing charges related to traffic offenses, drug offenses, assault, or more serious criminal allegations, our team has the expertise to handle a wide range of cases.

  2. Providing Legal Guidance: We understand that the legal process can be overwhelming. Our lawyers are here to guide you through every step, ensuring you have a clear understanding of your options and the potential outcomes of your case.

  3. Aggressive Representation: When necessary, we are prepared to fight vigorously for your rights in court. Our lawyers have a reputation for being tough advocates for our clients, working tirelessly to secure the best possible outcome.



When it comes to choosing a criminal lawyer in Ipswich, Queensland, Clarity Law stands out for its expertise, track record of success, and commitment to client satisfaction. With a personalized approach and a deep understanding of the local legal landscape, we are dedicated to providing the highest level of legal representation. Contact us today for a confidential consultation and take the first step towards securing your future.


How do I get more information or engage you to act for me? 

If you want to engage us or just need further free information or advice then you can either;

  1. Use our contact form and we will contact you by email or phone at a time that suits you

  2. Call us on 1300 952 255 seven days a week, 7am to 7pm

  3. Click here to select a time for us to have a free 15 minute telephone conference with you

  4. Email the firms founder on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

  5. Send us a message on Facebook Messenger

  6. Click the help button at the bottom right and leave us a message

We are a no pressure law firm, we are happy to provide free initial information to assist you. If you want to engage us then great, we will give you a fixed price for our services so you will know with certainty what we will cost. All the money goes into a trust account monitored by the Queensland Law Society and cannot be taken out without your permission or until we are legally allowed to.

If you don’t engage us that fine too, at least you will have more information on the charge and its consequences.

Sunday, 29 October 2023 18:28

Will a Criminal Charge Affect a Visa Application?

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Will a Criminal Charge Affect a Visa Application

A foreigner who wishes to visit or remain in Australia must be of good character. Character requirements must be met if a person is to continue holding a visa, apply for a visa, or renew a visa. The Australian Department of Home Affairs manages immigration in Australia, and it is the Minister or her delegates who assess the character requirements as they apply to a visa holder or applicant.


What are the Character Requirements?

The main legislative section that refers to character requirements is section 501 of the Migration Act 1958.

The overarching requirement is for a person to pass a character test. To this end, the government applies a character test to those applying for a visa. The government may also apply the character test to cancel a visa that has already been granted.

One of the key indications of bad character is if a person has a substantial criminal record. A substantial criminal record, among other things, includes being sentenced to a single or combined term of imprisonment of 12 months or more (it does not matter how much time you serve in prison, if any, just that the head sentence was 12 months or more)

Other indicators of bad character include, but are not limited to:

  • A person has a proven sexual offence involving a child.
  • A person has been convicted of a domestic violence offence or has been subject of a domestic violence order.
  • Having regard to the person's past and present criminal conduct and the person's past and present general conduct, the Minister considers the person not to be of good character.
  • The Minister believes that, in the event the person was allowed to remain in Australia, there is a risk that the person would:
    • engage in criminal conduct in Australia; or
    • harass, molest, intimidate or stalk another person in Australia; or
    • vilify a segment of the Australian community; or
    • incite discord in the Australian community or in a segment of that community; or
    • represent a danger to the Australian community or to a segment of that community, whether by way of being liable to become involved in activities that are disruptive to, or in violence threatening harm to, that community or segment, or in any other way.


Significance for Criminal Law

There is no specific section of law that states a person’s visa application or visa status will be affected only by a criminal charge. It is possible, however, that the Department of Home Affairs my consider some allegations serious enough to influence a character assessment prior to a conviction.

Once a person is convicted of an offence, however, this can trigger the cancellation of a person’s visa depending on the nature of the offence, and the extent of the penalty.

If a person is in Australia on a visa and they lodge another visa application, and that application is refused on character grounds, then any current visa is also cancelled.

A cancelation or refusal of a visa can be appealed, if the decision was not made by the Minister personally.



The more serious the criminal conduct, the more likely it will affect a person’s visa status. A person is unlikely to have his or her visa cancelled for a speeding offence or a parking infringement. If the person is charged with a serious offence, however, it would be wise to obtain legal advice regarding the possible implications this may have for the person’s visa status.

Tuesday, 17 October 2023 17:13

How does a plea of guilty affect my sentence?

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Pleading guilty

If you have a criminal matter before the court, you have to decide between entering a plea of guilty or not guilty.

A plea of not guilty of course, means taking a matter to trial (also known as hearing), in which evidence will be tested, witnesses called and examined. This may involve a jury being assembled or matter committed to a higher court for the trial.

This article is not going to be exploring what happens during a hearing or trial, this article will look at what the affect of a plea of guilty will have on a sentence.


What benefit do I get for a plea of guilty?

In Queensland, the rules on sentencing are governed by the Penalties and Sentences Act 1992 and specifically section 13 of the act deals with how a guilty plea must be taken into account.

When a person pleas guilty, the court must take the guilty plea into account and reduce the penalty it would have imposed otherwise if the offender had not pleaded guilty. This will be balanced against the “timeliness” of any plea or if they informed the relevant law enforcement agencies of their intention to plea guilty.

The court will consider the timeliness of the plea, meaning was the plea entered at an early stage of the matter, or was the matter listed for trial and then proceeded by plea of guilty on the day of trial – or somewhere in between.

You gain a less of a ‘discount’ on sentence if you enter a plea of guilty after a considerable period into a matter. This is not always a black and white scenario though. If a person is self-represented for the majority of their matter and pushes the matter along and lists it for trial, then that person gets legal advice and seeks to plea guilty. The court can consider that once legal advice has been obtained that they entered a plea of guilty and consider it a timely plea.

An early plea of guilty will further assist in your matter by demonstrating remorse and contrition to the court, and you gain the benefit of saving the tax payer the cost of a trial. Another factor considered when applying any reduction in sentence on the basis of an early plea of guilty, is the saving of cross-examination of any victim and witness – this even more relevant where a domestic violence or sexual assault matter is before the court.


Should I just plea guilty to get a better sentence?

In short – it depends. Deciding whether to plea guilty will depend on the strength of the evidence, any available alibis or defences. It is important to have a criminal and traffic law practitioner review your case with you to see if there is going to be success at trial or any available defences – or alternatively any case conferencing which might be available to reduce the charge or charges.

An early or timely plea of guilty will give a sentencing discount, by operation of law.



This article is not designed to be a comprehensive guide to taking matters to trial or the full intricacies of sentencing for criminal and traffic matters in Queensland. This article was to give a brief overview of how pleading guilty to an offence affects a sentence. This is both at law per section 13 of the Act, and by the demonstration of remorse and the willingness to save the taxpayer the cost of a trial.

Thursday, 12 October 2023 12:03

What is a court mention?

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 What is a court mention

A court "mention" is a term that is used every single day in the courts in Queensland but what does it actually mean?


What does a “mention” mean?

A the meaning of a mention is actually quite simple, it is where the magistrate or judge will “mention” a matter in the court.  Its purpose is really an opportunity for the judge to find out what’s happening so they can keep the matter progressing through the court system and for any of the parties to raise any issues.

A mention is different to a hearing or a sentence date as it is not always expected that anything of substance would happen at a mention.


First mention

There will always be a first mention of a matter after someone has been arrested. They may be given bail to a first mention date or given a notice to appear in court for a first mention date.

At the first mention date generally the court would be looking for a person to either adjourn the matter to another mention date or plea guilty to a matter or plead not guilty and have the matter set down for a trial.

As it is just a mention if something more complex like a bail application is to occur the court may decide to adjourn that to another date as generally mention won’t do applications or sentences that will take longer than 10-15 minutes.

The courts will almost always grant an adjournment on the first mention court date especially if it is to get legal advice.

At a first mention the police prosecutor should provide the defendant with a copy of their QP9 if they haven’t already. The QP9 is a summary of the facts the police say establish that the defendant is guilty of the offence

You can learn more about QP9’s by reading our article on what is a QP9?


Further court mentions

Complex matters often have a number of mentions throughout the course of the matter. Negotiations with a prosecutor can take time and so a few mentions in court may be required while the negotiations continue.

In our experience if a person has not obtained legal representation then each further adjournment request at a mention will be harder and after 2-3 mentions the court might require someone to enter a plea of guilty or not guilty.


How do I get more information or engage you to act for me? 

If you want to engage us or just need further information or advice then you can either;

  1. Use our contact form and we will contact you by email or phone at a time that suits you

  2. Call us on 1300 952 255 seven days a week, 7am to 7pm

  3. Click here to select a time for us to have a free 15 minute telephone conference with you

  4. Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

  5. Send us a message on Facebook Messenger

  6. Click the help button at the bottom right and leave us a message

We are a no pressure law firm, we are happy to provide free initial information to assist you. If you want to engage us then great, we will give you a fixed price for our services so you will know with certainty what we will cost. All the money goes into a trust account monitored by the Queensland Law Society and cannot be taken out without your permission.

If you don’t engage us that fine too, at least you will have more information on the charge and its consequences.


Other articles that may be of interest


Monday, 02 October 2023 16:35

Can what happens in court be published?

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Can what happens in court be published

A question many clients ask, rightfully so, is will my criminal case be on the news or published on social media?

The answer to those questions are maybe.

In Australia there is a principle called the General Rule of Openness, which has been described as being a fundamental principle of our judicial system. The general rule is that all criminal court proceedings are open to the public and can be freely reported on. There are some exceptions to this rule, mainly surrounding Domestic Violence matters and matters relating to Children, such as Childrens Courts or where Children or victims of sexual assault are giving evidence.


Will there be a reporter in my court?

Whether or not there will be a reporter in court when your matter proceeds are in most cases impossible to tell. Unless you or your legal representative notices a reporter or journalist in the court, the chances are the first time you will know about it is when you see or are made aware of an article written about you.


What is the likelihood of this occurring?

While it is possible that there may be a member of the press in the gallery, the chances of that occurring in most courts is relatively remote. Courts like Court 35 in the Brisbane Magistrates Court which deals exclusively with traffic and drink driving matters, could reasonably expect a lower chance of media being present, than say the Supreme Court where a high-profile trial is going on.

The chances of media being present and whether they will report on a matter will depend on things such as the profile of the defendant and the offences which they have been accused of. Drink or Drug driving doesn’t typically draw the interest of the media unless there is an unusual characteristic about the offender, such as if they are a celebrity, athlete or even a person who is expected to uphold a greater sense of responsibility – like a Doctor, Principal or Lawyer.


Can I do anything to stop it?

Unfortunately, no. It is the general presumption that media are allowed to report freely on court cases, provided they are truthful and accurate. Journalists are required to follow the Court reporting guide for Journalists with respect of their conduct in court, and the Journalist Code of Ethics.


Can I ask the court to close for my matter?

There are exceptionally limited circumstances when the court will close to the public, including media. These include as written above, all children and domestic violence matters, when a witness giving evidence relating to a sexual assault and when a confidential informant is giving evidence.



While it is a naturally distressing time in your life, the thought of an additional punishment in the court of public opinion can add unneeded stress. It is for better or worse an underpinning principle that the administration of justice occurs openly and publicly. The only thing that a defendant can do, is focus on the conduct of their case.

Please note – we do not and cannot give advice on defamation relating to any news organisation publishing information about any case.

Jacob Pruden

Recently, I represented a client as solicitor-advocate in a Magistrates Court trial. Solicitor-advocate means I prepared the case and represented the client in court myself, without the aid of a barrister. A Magistrates Court trial means rather than having a jury decide the facts and a judge decide on the law, it was a Magistrate alone deciding both. After the prosecution called its evidence and closed its case, I made a “no case to answer” submission. This submission was successful, and both charges against the client were dismissed.


Some Fundamental Legal Principles

The Queensland system of justice assumes a defendant in a criminal case is “innocent until proven guilty.” Whilst we have seen recent challenges to this fundamental principle in cases of “trial by media”, thankfully, this principle still stands in law.

As the defendant is presumed innocent, the Queensland system of justice requires that the prosecution proves the charges against the accused person. This is called the “burden of proof”.

The way the prosecution proves a charge is by presenting evidence. Not all evidence is admissible, meaning not all evidence will be allowed by the judge or magistrate. The magistrate may disallow evidence if it does not accord with the ‘rules of evidence’, or because it would be unfair to the accused to allow the evidence to be admitted. Objecting to the admission of evidence can be a powerful way for the defence to limit the prosecution case.

The prosecution must prove the charges against the accused “beyond reasonable doubt”. That is, the magistrate or jury must be left with no reasonable doubts about whether the charges against the accused have been proved. If they do have reasonable doubts, then the defendant must be found ‘not guilty’.

For the prosecution to prove a charge against an accused person, they must prove each “element” of each offence. Each offence in Queensland law has one or more legal elements which must be proved to establish proof of the charge. For example, for the prosecution to prove a charge of armed robbery, they must prove:

  1. The defendant stole something.
  2. At the time of, or immediately before, or immediately after, stealing it, the defendant used or threatened to use actual violence to any person or property.
  3. At the time, the defendant was armed with a weapon.

In this example, if the prosecution were able to prove that the defendant stole something from a person, but they could not prove that violence was used or threatened, then they could not prove the charge. Notice, the question is not specifically whether the accused did anything wrong in general, the question is whether he committed the specific offence that he is charged with.


Legal Argument

The reason I have explained the above principles is because I had to rely on all of them to get the charges against my client dismissed. Most criminal trials are decided on the facts, not the law. In this case, however, the law became an important factor in the outcome.

I cannot be too specific about the details of the case for reasons of confidentiality. But in general terms, the case was decided on a fairly complex legal argument involving: the legal meaning of circumstantial evidence, the legal meaning of intent (intent being an ‘element’ of the offences), the admissibility of evidence, the legal meaning of ‘damage’, whether the prosecution could prove its case beyond reasonable doubt, and the legal test required for a “no case to answer” submission to succeed.


Case Strategy

How did I know what points to argue? By having a clear case strategy.

Before the trial started, I knew I was going to make a ‘no case’ submission. My case strategy relied on the prosecution’s mistakes and their weak evidence. I knew roughly what the evidence would be in advance because the prosecution must disclose their evidence before the trial. Everything I did in the trial was aimed at minimising the prosecution evidence by making objections to the admission of evidence and not asking witnesses many questions. The prosecutor did not get a damaging conversation between my client and a witness into evidence. The prosecutor made a mistake. By the close of the prosecution case, the evidence they had was weak enough that I argued they could not prove their case beyond reasonable doubt, and therefore there was no prosecution case for my client to respond to.

After a complex legal argument, the magistrate agreed, and dismissed the charges.

Once you cut out the legal jargon, the main reasons we won were:

  • I had a clear strategy.
  • I capitalised on the prosecution’s mistakes.
  • I never lost sight of the fact the prosecution must prove the charges.

Always remember: the defendant legally is not required to prove anything. He or she is presumed innocent until proven otherwise.



What I have written may come off as hard to understand. That’s an unfortunate by-product of the complexity of our legal system, and why expert legal representation is so important: when your future is on the line, you need experienced and expert legal advocates. You need people in your corner who understand the legal system and use it to your best advantage.

Tuesday, 26 September 2023 17:32

Committal Proceedings

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Committal Proceedings

Most charges in Queensland begin and end in the Magistrate Court. The more serious charges, however, must be transferred from the Magistrates Court to the District/Supreme Court.[1] This is called ‘committing’ them. The transfer process is according to this chart:

committal procedure

Steps Before Committal

Full Brief of Evidence and Case Analysis

The “full brief of evidence”, is an assembly of (most of)[2] the evidence the police possess that they say proves the charges against a defendant. This evidence must be given to the defendant (or Clarity Law) before his or her case is committed to the District/Supreme Court. We then assess the evidence to determine whether the evidence is sufficient to prove the charges.

Case Example

We had a client who was charged with grievous bodily harm,[3] which is a charge that must be heard in the District Court. However, after we assessed the medical evidence, it became apparent that evidence supported a less serious charge of assault occasioning bodily harm.[4] We wrote to the prosecution pointing out this discrepancy, and argued the charge should be downgraded. The prosecution accepted this argument, and the charge was downgraded. This meant that the case stayed in the Magistrates Court, which was less costly to the client (in terms of legal fees) and exposed the client to lower maximum penalties.


Confirm Instructions

After we have analysed the evidence (with instructions from the client in mind), we comprehensively explain the evidence, what charges we think can or cannot be proved, and then explain the options and seek directions on what to do next.

The Committal Process

There are two ways[5] of transferring a case from the Magistrates Court to the District/Supreme Court, as explained below.


Registry Committal

This process is a matter of completing the correct paperwork, identifying which charges can be committed, and forwarding the paperwork to the prosecution, who then sign their side of it and file it with the Magistrates Court. This option is the fastest, the least costly, and is best suited to those who are going to plead guilty.


Application for Committal Hearing

This process is much more complicated than the registry committal.

It requires the preparation of a written application, given to the prosecution, which states:

  1. Which witnesses we propose are called and cross-examined,

  2. The issues we aim to explore with the witness,

  3. the reasons we want the witness called.

The questions we ask the witness will be limited to the issues identified in our written application.

The prosecution can accept or reject our application. If it is accepted, then the case is listed for a committal hearing in the Magistrates Court. If the application is rejected, we can still apply directly to the Court and make arguments why the application should be accepted. If the Court rejects it, the application fails. If the Court accepts it, then the case is listed for a committal hearing. It is very important we do not press for a committal hearing to only fish for information; if a complainant or other witnesses are made to come to court to give evidence before the trial, this can greatly reduce the benefit of a guilty plea if a defendant pleads guilty later.

The main purpose of a committal hearing is to test whether the evidence is sufficient to put a defendant on trial for any indictable offence. It is also for a defendant to properly understand a case against him and clarify important ambiguities in the full brief of evidence.

Case Example

A defendant is accused of murder. The circumstances are she was having an argument with a friend near the side of the road. She threatened to stab him and he then stepped out onto the road and was hit and killed by a car. The prosecution argued that, if not for her threatening actions, the man would not have died, and it was therefore murder. The defence argued the prosecution had no evidence to prove it was the defendant who caused the deceased man to step out onto the road, and even if she did, that is not sufficient to establish a charge of murder. The magistrate threw out the murder charge on the basis there was not sufficient evidence that a jury could convict the accused.

An application for a committal hearing is best suited to those cases where a defendant is quite sure he will plead not guilty in the higher court, or the prosecution case is so weak it is worth challenging in the Magistrates Court.


After Committal

Once the case is committed to the higher court, the case and evidence are transferred from the police prosecutors to the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (ODPP for short). The ODPP then decide whether to indict (that is charge) the defendant on the same charges, or different charges. Sometimes this will consist of additional charges (if there is something police may have missed, based on the evidence), or fewer charges. It must be assessed on a case-by-case basis whether the charges are likely to change or remain the same.

The ODPP is expected to present the charges to the District or Supreme Court within six months of the committal.



Deciding how to proceed at the committal stage is an important step in every criminal case. This is a decision that should be made with the assistance of expert legal advice. We at Clarity Law have the experience and expertise required to help you navigate through this tricky process.


[1] Justices Act 1886(QLD),sections 108 to 134.

[2] There is some evidence the prosecution is not obliged to give, but will give if requested.

[3] With a maximum penalty of 14 years.

[4] With a maximum penalty of 7 years.

[5] There are technically three ways. The third way is a “full hand up” committal, but this procedure is rarely used.